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Two of the U.S. college football’s power five conferences have announced on Tuesday the postponement of their fall football season, citing the threat to health and safety concerns of competing during the pandemic.
The Big Ten was the first to inform the public of the cancellation of their season. After about an hour, another major conference, Pac-12, followed suit to say that sports competition will be canceled until the spring. The other three football conference giants– the Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, and Big 12– remained firm on pushing the football season this fall.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes have been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward… As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren
Among the powerhouse squads that belong to the Big Ten and Pac-12 are perennial title contenders like the University of Southern California, University of Michigan, and Ohio State University. The Big Ten has later said that discussions are still up whether they’ll move the fall sports to spring schedules.
“Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is… Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble. Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where, in many cases, the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant… We will continue to monitor the situation, and when conditions change, we will be ready to explore all options to play the impacted sports in the new calendar year.”Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott
With the postponements of collegiate conferences, the professional football landscape would be more likely to be affected, especially with the annual NFL Scouting Combine and draft usually coming spring.
U.S. President Donald Trump firmly pushed for the resumption of college football play and suggested a controversial remark when he said that student-athletes are strong enough to combat the effects of the novel coronavirus.
“We want to get football in colleges. These are young, strong people. They won’t have a big problem with the China virus. So we want to see college football start.”U.S. President Donald Trump
Despite a high percentage of recovery rate from COVID-19 among professional athletes, there’s a handful of sports medical professionals concerned that young and healthy people infected can carry lingering health issues like cognitive, lung, and heart problems.